Two Weeks To Go

So, the VMLM is just 14 days away. Scared? …… an emphatic YES; Excited? ….. another emphatic YES. Ready? …… I hope so.

I still have some training to do but the taper has begun. Yesterday I did a mere 8 miles, which seemed like a drop in the ocean compared to my 20 miles last Saturday. The week’s training went well. I only did 16.16 miles in total, compared with 29.17 miles the previous week and spent just over 3 hours on the road compared with just over 6 hours the previous week. I wore my Prostate Cancer running top, just to make sure it was comfortable and that it didn’t have any irritating seams, etc. which could cause chafing. I did feel a bit self-conscious running round Harpenden with it on, especially as my name is emblazoned on the front of it, ready for THE DAY.

I have received my Registration Form and Final Instructions Magazine. My running number is 3126 and I will be starting from the BLUE START at Blackheath. I will have to go to the VMLM Expo at ExCel London to collect my running number and kitbag, probably on Wednesday next week. Typing this is giving me an attack of nerves because it is now very real and imminent.

From now until THE MARATHON, I am going to focus on nutrition and hydration. I really don’t want to hit the dreaded wall so I will do everything I can to prevent it by making sure I have enough carbohydrates to re-stock my glycogen supplies and will also keep myself well hydrated. I’m not very good at drinking water regularly so it is going to be top priority in the next two weeks. Rest is another important factor during the taper to ensure the repair of tissue damage caused during my training.

I may well do several blogs in the next two weeks because I feel it may help to calm me down and remind me how far I have come in my marathon journey.

To visit my Prostate Cancer fundraising page, please click here.

Nearly there


Thank goodness, that’s the last long run done. It was a good week until the long run of 20 miles on Saturday. My Monday and Wednesday runs were straightforward and enjoyable but the long run was another story altogether.

It hasn’t helped that I have a bad cough and cold – yes, another cold, would you believe it. I haven’t had a cold in years and then 2 come along within a couple of months. Nearly everyone I know has got a cold at the moment so it’s not that surprising I suppose.

I knew I had to do the long run despite the cough and cold because it is the last one before the taper. It’s only 3 weeks to the VMLM so not much training time left. I was doing fine until I hit 16 miles. My trusty supporter (Alan) was handing me a cold towel and drinks  every 2 miles and this worked very well and saved me a bit of time. When I got to mile 16 I became very tired and everything seemed a struggle and, in the event, I walked more than I would have liked. Of course now I’m thinking how I am going to cope with the last 6.2 miles in the marathon. Everyone says the crowds will push you along – I only hope that’s true.

I guess I am feeling a little negative at the moment but that will soon pass and excitement will take over. I have been training for 10 months and I can’t believe it is only 21 days to go.

I was wondering just how far 26.2 miles is from point A to B. I know, of course, it’s the marathon route round London but I have never walked that, nor driven round it. So I thought I would try to get some perspective on the distance. Well, it’s 25 miles from Harpenden to Hyde Park Corner and, for those of you who are reading this in Portugal, it’s from Alvor to Lagos and back (also about 25 miles). I don’t know if that has helped me or frightened me. 10 months ago I would never have imagined I could walk (or want to walk) that far, never mind run it. I have to remind myself that I have come a long way and that I shouldn’t be discouraged if I have a bad run. It happens and it doesn’t matter – all I want to do is to finish the marathon and to help Prostate Cancer UK with my fundraising.

I’m already feeling more positive. The long runs were hard but I’ve done them and completed my training schedule as planned. One more week of fairly heavy training (but no more very long runs) and then two weeks of tapering. All the hard work is nearly done so I am going to spend the next three weeks looking forward to the marathon and get excited about it.



It’s hard!

Another week of training done. It is certainly not easy. In fact, I am finding it hard. I never expected it to be easy but it is at least as difficult as my worst nightmares. The positives are that I am not having much trouble with stamina or tired legs. The problem is with my feet.

Having said that, I completed my training for the week, running 4.70 miles on Monday, 4.92 miles on Wednesday and, finally, the long run on Saturday – 18 miles. At the end of the 18 miles on Saturday, my feet ached like mad and I now have another blister on another toe. I bought these “fantastic”, very expensive marathon socks which were supposed to prevent blisters. They worked fine for the shorter runs (up to 14 miles) so I think I am going to have to smother my feet/toes in vaseline to, hopefully, prevent more blisters from forming. The good thing though is that today, Sunday, my feet no longer hurt, so it’s only a temporary thing.

I have one more week of really hard training, with a 20 mile run on Saturday, then the long run reduces in volume. Can’t wait to get that over and done with.

The figures for this week are that I ran for 5 hours and 26 minutes and covered 27.62 miles.


34 days to go!

Only 34 more days to go. Time is flying by and I’m getting really nervous, but excited as well.

I am following my training plan and, even though I am finding it tough doing the long runs, I have stuck to it and hope it all pays off on the day. I do find the long runs difficult. Firstly I find them boring and, secondly, they take up quite a lot of time. Fortunately it is only one long run a week and this week I ran 16 miles on Saturday. I thought I was never going to finish but now, when I look back, I can say, “well, there’s only 10.2 miles more to complete the marathon”. Of course 10.2 miles after 16 miles is quite a lot but I feel better when I break it down into smaller bits.

My feet were aching quite a bit after my 16 mile run and I now have a huge blister. It is difficult running on calcada (Portuguese pavements which are a little like cobblestones) so I will try to run on the road as much as possible in future.

This week I  spent 5 hours 2 minutes running and covered 25.6 miles.


Back on track

After my setback last week, I was anxious to get back on track. I followed my training plan and achieved everything I was supposed to this week, including my long run of 14 miles on Saturday.

I spent a lot of time analysing everything I had done wrong last week and working out what I had to do to get my enthusiasm and commitment back. Once I had decided my problem was the “high” I had felt after the half marathon, I was able to look forward again.

Before my long run on Saturday, I decided I needed to plan it, as if it was another half marathon. So I woke up at 5.30 am, had my breakfast of porridge and a cup of tea, and just relaxed until it was time to go out for my run two hours later. I also decided that I would need to do circuits which passed my house, so that I could top up with drink every  two miles or so. This worked really well and I will use this system for all the long runs until the taper. Also, for the first time, I listened to music whilst I ran. This helped with the boredom of running 14 miles on my own – time passed by more quickly – or at least I felt it did.

I am really happy to be back on track.

This week I spent a total of 4 hours 18 minutes running and covered 21.81 miles.


A very difficult week!

I had a totally unexpected mental setback after the half marathon. I lost all enthusiasm for running and had a total lack of commitment all week. I believe this was due to having achieved something quite monumental (for me) and it was very hard to motivate myself to continue training. I felt as if I had accomplished my goal – but of course I hadn’t.

I only did two training sessions during the week; the first was a short run (40 minutes) and then a longer one on Saturday. My intention was to run 12 miles on Saturday but I only managed 7.65 miles. I was absolutely distraught and really disappointed with myself. I gave up too easily. OK, I did have a sore toe and it was very hot (I am now in Portugal for the next few weeks) but really that was no excuse.

I have thought long and hard about what I did wrong and how I can get my motivation back. I have decided to completely put the half marathon out of my mind and re-dedicate myself to the London Marathon by thinking of all the people who are supporting and sponsoring me and why I am doing this.




This will be my mantra.

I expect to write a more positive post at the end of this week.


My first Half Marathon

I did it! I ran my first half marathon yesterday at Thorpe Park and feel amazing.

To say I was nervous the few days before is an understatement. However, once the day arrived, I began to feel excited and couldn’t wait to get going. I was quite overwhelmed by the number of people running – 3220. Nowhere near as many as will be running in the London Marathon but this was my first experience of a race and, more to the point, running with other people. Would I get trampled by the faster runners or would I get in the way? These were questions which made me apprehensive at the start but I soon realised that neither of these things was going to happen.

My plan was to run easily and steadily, not go off too fast and not feel that I had to keep up with faster runners. I was happy to let people pass me and, later in the race, was very happy to be passing other runners. I thought I was going to have to walk some of the way, especially the inclines, but I was able to run the whole way. And to see that I was nowhere near the end of the field made me even happier.

I teamed up with another runner, Angie, and we just steadily worked our way through the miles, chatting and enjoying ourselves. To be perfectly honest, it didn’t seem like 13.1 miles and I never broke out in a sweat nor was I ever out of breath. Amazing.

It is probably naive to think that the London Marathon will be like this but I will prepare just as diligently and follow the same training, nutrition and hydration plan. I really think that having a very light week of running leading up to the half marathon was a great help. I felt fresh and not in the least bit fatigued.

Another worry was how I was going to feel after the race. Well, I can say that apart from a few muscle aches, I feel absolutely fine.

Now down to the figures. It took me 2 hours and 47 minutes to cover the 13.1 miles. 3220 entered the race (2 of whom represented GB in the 2016 and 2012 Olympics). There were 85 women who were slower than me (and all of them younger) so I feel I have gained some bragging rights!

All in all, a really enjoyable day. And I got a medal – very large and blingy!


Click here to go to my About page where you will find out why I am running for Prostate Cancer UK and also to make a donation via my Virgin Money Giving fundraising page.


Another solid week of training

My major achievement this week was doing a 10 mile run on Friday. It really was major because I wasn’t feeling too well, having picked up a cold in the middle of the week. It took all my determination to put my running gear on and get out of the house on Friday morning. I felt I had to get 10 miles under my belt before the half marathon next weekend so I actually decided to follow the same timetable as I will be using for the half i.e. getting up at 6.30 am, having porridge and a cup of tea for breakfast, then 2 hours later at 9.00 am, set off on my run.

As I was not 100% fit, I also decided to take things easy and I was actually prepared to give up if my breathing became difficult. Fortunately I had no problems and completed the 10 miles in just under 2 hours, which I was very happy with.

My thoughts are now totally focussed on the Half Marathon at Thorpe Park on Sunday, 26th February. On Saturday I received my race bib, timing chip and information about the race which now makes it very real. I am nervous, to say the least. This will be good practice for the London Marathon as it will give me an idea of running with other people (so far I’ve only run on my own) and what to expect under race conditions. I will let you know how I get on in my next blog.

This week I spent 3 hours 17 minutes running and covered 17.22 miles.

Click here to go to my About page, where you can see why I’m running for Prostate Cancer UK and also to make a donation via my Virgin Money Giving fundraising page.


69 days to go!

I can’t believe there are only 69 more days to go. I feel I still have so much to do.

Fortunately Week 6 of my marathon training went well and I am happy with my progress. My training schedule said “This week is when the marathon training kicks in, building more time on your feet, and introducing some mixed paced running to give you that added fitness boost”. And so on Thursday I had to do some tempo running, which comprised 30 seconds tempo run (this is a faster pace workout at a comfortably hard pace) followed by a 2 minute walk, repeated 8 times, plus 20 minutes of easy running. I really enjoyed this because I quite like running at a faster pace and the training session seemed to pass by very quickly. On Saturday I had my long run. It was freezing cold with sleet and snow – my trusty app told me it was 0 degrees but felt like -3 degrees. So I set off in my wooly hat and gloves and pounded the pavements for 9 miles. I must admit that I really didn’t feel like going out but once I was running I am glad I did and very pleased that I completed the week’s workout.

This week I spent 3 hrs. 6 minutes running and covered 15.95 miles.

To donate to Prostate Cancer UK, please click here.



Meet the Experts

Today I attended the “Meet the Experts” event at Central Hall Westminster, London.

As I arrived quite early, I was able to browse the shop selling the official VMLM clothing range. For anyone who knows me well, I couldn’t walk away without buying something. I am the same when I’m in a golf shop – you can be sure I’ll buy something!

Proceedings began with Geoff Wightman (official Race Day commentator) welcoming everyone (there were about 1000 present) and reminding us all that it was 11 WEEKS and 23 HOURS to the start of the VMLM! That doesn’t sound too far away and there’s plenty of training to do before then. Geoff highlighted the common pitfalls to avoid leading up to the marathon and on the day.

Other speakers were:

Hugh Brasher – revealed news about this year’s marathon

Shannon Foudy – the one millionth finisher of the London Marathon

Dr Josie Perry – offered motivational advice to get us over the line

Kerry McCarthy – explained Race Day pacing

Baasit Siddiqui – (star of Channel 4’s Gogglebox) talked about his experiences last year

Martin Yelling – top training coach who gave an excellent talk on how to nail our marathon training

Vassos Alexander – Sports Presenter on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2, shared some entertaining stories

Anita Bean – gave advice about nutrition strategy and hydration (I’ve got to work on this as I don’t think I’ve got it right!)

Sophie Raworth – BBC Newsreader who has run London 5 times. She told us about the time she got her hydration wrong and ended up needing medical treatment for 2 hours at mile 24 before finally completing the marathon.

There were also sports rehabilitation specialists from St Mary’s University available to give free screenings and advice for treating running niggles. Adidas were providing free foot scans and Lucozade Sport were on hand to provide advice about hydration and nutrition strategies during the race.

All in all, a very interesting day. Hopefully I have picked up enough tips and information to see me to the finish line.